Offertory has also a special sense in the services of both the English and Roman churches. It forms in both that part of the Communion service appointed to be spoken or sung, during the collection of alms, before the elements are consecrated.
In music, an offertory is the vocal or instrumental setting of the offertory sentences (as in Gregorian chant), or, less common, the name for a short instrumental piece played by the organist, or hymn sung by the choir while the collection is being made.
In the Roman Rite Mass the Offertory in the early Middle Ages consisted in chant verses sung by a soloist and accompanied by a refrain sung by the choir. Because the collecting of material offerings gradually fell out of use, the verses were eventually abolished. In the Roman Missal of St. Pius V (Tridentine) and already centuries before Pius V's codification, the Offertory was reduced to the singing of the refrain only. The priest recites the (refrain of the) Offertory chant privately after the Dominus vobiscum. He then proceeds with the preparing of the gifts (bread and wine) on the altar, along with incensing the altar.
Collection plate or basket
A collection plate is often used near the end of some Protestant worship services to gather the gifts of the faithful for the support of the church and for charity. Members of other assemblies, including some Lutheran churches, do not use a collection plate, but simply make arrangements to support their church without the temptation of using the collection plate for a public show of piety.
In the Roman Catholic Mass the collection plate is replaced by a basket which is passed among the faithful immediately following the Liturgy of the Word at the offertory. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass (Pauline Rite), a family or group selected before the Mass (such as the Knights of Columbus) then approach the priest with these monetary gifts—as well as the unconsecrated host and sacramental wine—which are laid under the altar before beginning the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This spiritually unites the sacrifice of the people with the pure oblation who is the Eucharistic Christ.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.